The Harder They Come

Director: Perry Henzell
Country: Jamaica
Year: 1972
Running Time: 90 min
Language: English and Jamaican Patois

Ivan (played by Jimmy Cliff), an aspiring young singer, leaves his rural village for the capital city of Kingston hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions his first day in town, Ivan records a song for an unscrupulous music mogul, Mr. Hilton, who exploits naïve young artists because he controls the business. When Ivan’s song becomes a hit but he sees none of the money, the simple country boy turns outlaw.

At war with both the police and rivals in the ganja trade, Ivan rises quickly to the top of the pop charts…and the most-wanted lists.

About the Director

Perry Henzell

Perry-HenzellBiography: Perry Henzell was a film director and writer. Born in Port Maria, Jamaica on March 7th, 1936, he was married with three children, and died in Treasure Beach, Jamaica on November 30th, 2006. Henzell was a man who exuded an almost supernatural calm; he was always effortlessly congenial company, with a permanent twinkle of humour in his enquiring eyes. Both his parents were of old Caribbean stock, his father managing a sugar estate on the Jamaican north coast, where his only son and two daughters were born. After attending Shrewsbury School and McGill University in Montreal, Perry Henzell became a floor manager for BBC television in London. In 1959, learning that television was about to start up in Jamaica, he returned to the island. There he set up Vista Productions, which over the next decade made hundreds of commercials, honing his directing skills. English commercials directors like Ridley Scott would use Vista’s facilities. By 1969 Henzell was ready to begin filming his first feature. Funded by relatives, as well as by Chris Blackwell, The Harder They Come was not finally completed until 1972, shot at weekends or in one or two-week bursts.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
The Harder They Come (1997, 2012).

The Harder They Come (1972);
No Place like Home (2006).